COFFEE AND CIGARETTES
starring Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright, Joie Lee, Cinqué Lee
written and directed by Jim Jarmusch
THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD
starring Isabella Rossellini, Mark McKinney, Maria de Medeiros, Ross McMillan
screenplay by Guy Maddin & George Toles, based on a screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro
directed by Guy Maddin
by Walter Chaw Philosopher-scientist Nikola Tesla (of coil fame) once suggested that the universe winding down vibrated to a sympathetic rhythm; art, at its best, puts a tuning fork to it. The words that we use to describe tapping that fricative synergy (archetype, the sublime, the ineffable) are also the words that we use, to borrow a phrase from Frank Zappa, to dance about architecture--to describe what's indescribable about the collective experience, the existential electricity that ranks music above painting above poetry above literature (and film the twentieth century stepchild that falls somehow north and south of each). It is the unique privilege of the cinema to be all things at its best and less than nothing at its worst: to be sculpture for Matthew Barney; photography for Stanley Kubrick; ad art for Roy Andersson; poetry for Jean-Luc Godard; hymn for Abbas Kiarostami; and music for Sergio Leone. For Jim Jarmusch, it's the Romanticist sensibility distilled deliriously through the Nouvelle Vague, while for Guy Maddin, it's perhaps the critical instinct at its most self-loathing, arch, and unpleasant.